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Helpful Tips: Ketogenic Foods to Avoid

woman shopping for groceries

Atkins 20® and Atkins 40® are ketogenic diets*; based on a nutrition plan that’s high in fats and low in carbs. The ultimate goal of a keto diet is to achieve nutritional ketosis—a metabolic state where your body burns stored fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates and sugar. Since Atkins 20® and 40® are keto diets, we’re here to help you reach your goals with a list of foods to avoid on keto:

Grains

The key to a successful keto diet is simple—limit your carb intake and get the majority of your calories from fat. The problem with grains is that they are filled with carbohydrates, which can hurt your keto progress. It’s best to avoid grains altogether if possible, especially these:

  • Pumpernickel
  • Oatmeal
  • White
  • Flour & corn tortillas
  • Wheat
  • Rye
  • Sourdough
  • Oats
  • Corn
  • Buckwheat
  • Sandwich wraps
  • Quinoa
  • Sorghum
  • Barley
  • Rice

Pro tip: It’s important to remember that bread, pasta, cookies, crackers, or pizza crusts made from any of these types of grains will also result in high carb counts.

Fruits

While it may seem a bit surprising to see fruits appear on a “foods to avoid on keto” list, several fruits are high in sugar and carbs. Your best bet is to reach for low glycemic fruits such as blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and tomatoes. Olives and avocados are also excellent sources of healthy fat. It is best avoid fruits such as:

  • Tangerines
  • Oranges
  • Pineapples
  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Grapes
  • Fruit Juices
  • Mangos
  • Nectarines
  • Peaches
  • Dried fruits such as raisins, dates, and dried mango
  • Fruit smoothies (carb count will vary by fruits used)
  • All fruit juices (excluding lemon and lime juice)

Pro Tip: Avoid frozen fruits that may have been sweetened as they tend to have higher carb counts.

Vegetables

When it comes to vegetables, the keto rule of thumb is to avoid any veggies that grow beneath the ground. Avoid vegetables with a high starch content, as they contain the most carbs. It is best if you aim to consume around 12-15g net carbs from vegetables per day, and here are the keto diet foods to avoid:

  • Potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Baked potatoes
  • Yams
  • Peas
  • Corn
  • Artichoke
  • Parsnips
  • Cassava (Yuca)

Pro tip: Watch out for casseroles and other types of pre-made foods that contain these vegetables, increasing the carb count.

Legumes

Leguminous plants such as beans and peas are typically high in protein and other vital nutrients. But because they are high in carbs, they are another type of ketogenic diet food to avoid:

  • Baked beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Lima beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Black beans
  • Black-eyed peas
  • Lentils
  • Green peas
  • Kidney beans
  • Cannellini beans
  • Great Northern beans
  • Lima beans
  • Navy beans

Dairy

Dairy is typically a low carb food group when eaten in moderation. However, it is important to remember that dairy does contain carbs, so try to limit your intake to no more than 3-4 ounces per day. Here are some dairy foods to avoid on keto:

  • Most milks
  • Condensed milk
  • Creamed cottage cheese
  • Fat-free or low-fat yogurt

Protein

Having adequate protein intake on a keto diet is critical for maintaining muscle mass. Fish and poultry are two great sources of protein that are low in carbs. Typically on a keto diet, you want to opt for fattier cuts of meat like ribeye steaks, chicken thighs, and fatty fish like salmon. Our recommendation would be to avoid or limit processed meats, specifically:

  • Bacon with added sugar
  • Breaded meats
  • Other processed meats that may contain hidden carbs

Oils and other unhealthy fats

Consuming a healthy amount of fat is an integral part of Atkins and any keto diet. Although these oils may be carb free, the recommended intake for added fats is 2-4 tablespoons daily.

Pro tip: Do not allow any oils to reach overly high temperatures when cooking, and only use walnut or sesame oil to dress cooked veggies or salad (but not for cooking).

Beverages

Pay close attention to what you drink, as drinks are often a significant source of hidden sugars and carbs. A majority of your liquid consumption should come from water, as you should be drinking 6 to 8 glasses of water daily. The following beverages should be avoided while following Atkins keto:

  • Colas
  • Hot Chocolate
  • Ginger Ale
  • Grape Soda
  • Root Beer
  • Tonic Water (Not sugar-free)
  • Energy Drinks (Not sugar-free)
  • Sports Drinks
  • Vitamin Water
  • Fruit juices
  • Lemonade
  • Sweetened iced tea
  • Frappuccino
  • Mocha
  • Non-light beers
  • Cocktails such as margaritas, screwdrivers, and piña coladas

Now that you know which foods to avoid on keto, you can make the correct adjustments to continue living your low carb lifestyle. You can also check out our keto friendly food list for more low carb guidance and explore different Atkins plans personalized to your lifestyle.

*To maintain ketosis continue with Atkins 20 Induction